Welcome and Gathering Song: All Are Welcome #414 (verses 1,2,3)
Presider: Let us pray as we come together to break bread and share the blessings we have received on the wings of an angel and the openness of Mary and Joseph. We thank you, Incarnate God, in the name of Jesus, your Son…our brother. All: Amen.
Presider: Wisdom, your grace joins all heaven and earth. With you we labor, with new life to give birth. Come now, O Wisdom, you are our peace, open our hearts to your world, one without end. All: Amen.
All: God of life, wholeness and holiness, you who direct all creation to its fulfillment in Jesus, the Christ – open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice may guide our lives. Loving God, bless all of us gathered here and all those of our community who are not with us today. We ask this of you, our brother Jesus, and our sister Sophia. Amen.
Penitential Rite and Community Forgiveness
Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. We ask you to send your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will for us and we give thanks that you have called us to be your chosen people.
All: (with an outstretched arm): God, our Father and Mother, help us to hear Wisdom’s messages, to faithfully understand them, and to receive the compassion to act on them with our brothers and sisters. Compassionate God, teach us the virtues of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn- learn to forgive our failures to care for one another and for our planet Earth. We ask this of you in the names of Jesus, our brother and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen
Glory to God
All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth. Creator God, heart of the universe, we thank you for the breath of the Spirit sustaining everything that exists, everywhere in the cosmos. Through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, you gave us the grace to know that you are always among us – and that we can experience you in our brothers and sisters. We give you glory and praise through Jesus Christ, our brother, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
First reading: Acts 16:9-15 All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm 104: Responsorial: Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the earth. #806
Second reading: Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 All: Glory and thanks to our Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia
Gospel: John 14:23-29
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Homily Starter – Sixth Sunday of Easter-April 30, 2016
Kathryn Shea, ARCWP
Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. But the kind of peace I give you is not like the world’s peace.” Jesus was preparing his disciples for his physical departure and reassuring them that he would be with them spiritually, always. He tells us to love him and be true to his word. But, how do they love and stay connected to a Jesus they can no longer see, hear, or touch? A Jesus who is physically gone from them?
Again, Jesus tells his disciples and all of us how we are to do this. We are to follow his teachings. It sounds so simple. But how are we certain we know for sure what we are called to do in any given moment in this ever-changing and complex world of 24-7, 52 weeks, 365 days a year of mental and emotional bombardment from the media and the news in the world?
How can we know what Jesus would do and how he would act in any given concrete specific situation? Again, Jesus anticipates our confusion or lack of faith and gives us the answer. “The Paraclete, the Advocate, the Protector, the Holy Spirit, will be sent by God in my name, and will instruct you in everything, and the Spirit will remind you of all that I have told you.”
So, I have really been pondering this and asking myself, how do I know when I’m calling upon the Spirit to guide me that I am responding in the way that Jesus would? How do I know it’s not my own ego or opinion that drives my response?
How did Lydia know? So, I’m sure you noticed I changed the first reading for today because I did not like it. After reading the Gospel several times, I thought of the story of Lydia. She was a well-respected business woman who made and sold purple dyes. She was a Gentile who believed in one God and sought greater understanding. She formed a women’s prayer group and asked for guidance. I think the telling of Paul’s vision is a bit confused, because I think it was actually Lydia who appeared in his vision asking for someone to be sent to Macedonia, and not a man. Lydia never laid eyes on Jesus. She did not hear him speak. She did not hug or touch him, and yet he was alive and present to her and in her in the strongest of ways. She was the first Christian convert in Europe and spread the Gospel far and wide. Lydia experienced the peace Jesus is talking about.
So, I ask myself, how do I know when I am experiencing the kind of peace that Jesus is talking about and not just the world’s peace?
How do each of you know when you are in this special, holy, place that is beyond all understanding and how do you stay grounded in this peace that Jesus gives to us?
Profession of Faith
All: We believe in God, the Creator of the universe, whose divinity infuses all that exists, making everything, everywhere, sacred. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who leads us to the fullness of humanity. Through him, we become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Wisdom who keeps the Christ-vision present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives – and the Sustainer who heals and energizes us when our spirits may grow weary in our journeys. We say: Amen to courage, to hope, and to truth. We say: Amen to the partnership and equality of all people of different genders, races, and faiths. We believe in a world of justice and peace for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. In all of this, we surely believe.
Prayers of the Community
Presider: We are a people of faith, believing in the power of prayer. We are always mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for all of us. And so, we bring the needs of people – throughout the world – to our merciful and gracious God. After each intercession, respond: Compassionate God, hear our prayers.
Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. We ask you to strengthen us in our caring for one another and in our works for justice, equality, and peace in a world without violence. As always, we make this prayer in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.
Offertory Procession: Song: “Blessed Are the Gifts” by Mindy Lou Simmons
Blessed are the gifts that we receive
As we give so love returns in kind
So let us breathe love and live peace
And do the best we can
To give ourselves in service to our God Divine. (2-3 times)
Preparation of the Gifts
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, this grain that the earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have made. It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Gathering of the Gifted
Presider: Jesus, who has sat at our tables, now invites us to be guests at his family table. Everyone is welcome around our family table.
ALL: Nurturing God, we are united in this sacrament by our common love of Jesus. We are in communion with everyone, everywhere, who proclaims your mercy to all those who are marginalized and oppressed. May we love tenderly, do justice, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. May we live as prophetic witnesses to the Gospel, supported by the vision of Jesus and the wisdom of the Spirit. Amen.
Presider: God dwells in each one of us. All: Namaste!
Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
All: With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider: Holy Spirit, we realize your presence among us as we gather at our family table.
All: Fill us with reverence for you, for one another, and for all your creation.
Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Holy One, living in us and loving through us.
Voice 1: Ever present and always caring God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. In you we live and move and have our very being. Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you. And so, we sing your praise…
All: sing: We are holy, holy, holy X3….we are whole
I am holy, holy, holy X3….I am whole
You are holy, holy, holy X3….You are whole. (Karen Drucker)
Voice 2: We thank you for the gift of Jesus in history and the gift of Jesus in faith. On earth, Jesus burned with the vision of his mission and truth. He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well lived. Jesus showed us not only how we should live, but also for what we might die. Through him, you continue to breathe life into us.
Voice 3: (Place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right) Merciful God, let your Holy Spirit rest upon us, your people, converting us from the patterns of the world, until we conform to the shape of him whose food we now share.
All: O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts that we gathered from the fields and placed on our table — this simple wheat and wine. May she have them become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.
(With an outstretched arm as we pray the consecration together. We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me. [Pause]
In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this, all of you, and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me.
Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.
All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ lives in us and through us in the world today.
Voice 4: In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this life-giving bread and this saving cup. May all who share this sacred meal be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move freely in our lives as well.
Voice 5: God, remember your church throughout the world, help us grow in love, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and all your people everywhere – especially those who live on the margins of church and society. Remember also all those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts. We remember especially….(mention names, if you would like to).
All: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Creator God, forever and ever. Amen (sung).
All: Our Father and Mother ……..Amen.
All: Lord God, we have prayed that your kindom may come among us. Open our ears to hear it, our hands to serve it, and our hearts to hold it. Amen.
The Sign of Peace
Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Look on the faith of those gathered here and ….
All: … grant us your peace. O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.
Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another.
Litany for the Breaking of Bread
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.
Presider: This is Jesus, who liberates, heals, and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. All: We are the Body of Christ.
Presider: Lord God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters.
Men: We cannot eat this bread and forget those who are hungry. O God, your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment for your people.
Women: We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty. O God, the very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.
All: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war.
During Communion – You Are the Face of God – Karen Drucker
After Communion Reflection Song: Be Not Afraid #430 (verses 1 & 2)
Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion
Presider: Eternal God, may this Eucharist in which we always share Christ’s healing love deepen our oneness with you and our unity with one another. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, and the Spirit, the Wisdom. All: Amen.
Community Prayers of Gratitude and Announcements
Closing Community Blessing
Presider: O God of Compassion, Jesus showed us how to love one another and heal our hearts. Through the power of your liberating Spirit at work within us, we will give and receive forgiveness, live joyously, and work for healing, justice and equality for our earth and for all your holy people. As Jesus gave to us his peace, may we spread his peace to all peoples of the earth, everywhere; no exceptions. ALL: Amen
All: (with an outstretched arm in blessing) May we realize Emmanuel, God-in-us, and give generous expression to this wonderful gift that we all share. May our nurturing God bless us all gathered here and all those in our communities. We ask this in the name of the Creator, in the name of Mary’s child, and in the Name of our Wisdom as we minister to one another as the People of God. Amen.
Co-Presiders: As we all go in the peace of Christ, let our service continue in all that we do!
ALL: Thanks be to God. Let it be so! Alleluia!